Jan. 6, 2013
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By ERIC CLARK
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Balanced scoring was back Sunday for the core of the University of Iowa women’s basketball team, but a second straight Big Ten Conference victory was not.
Michigan (13-2 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) built a 13-point lead with just over six minutes to play, and withstood a ferocious Hawkeye rally to hold on to a 68-64 win on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa (12-4, 1-1) lost for the first time in eight games.
The Hawkeyes once again boasted balanced scoring, led by sophomore Melissa Dixon, who came off the bench to make 5-of-9 3-point field goals and finish with 17 points. Sophomore Samantha Logic scored 16 points and just missed a triple-double with nine rebounds and nine assists. Junior Theairra Taylor added 14 points and senior Morgan Johnson scored 10 points with seven rebounds.
UI head coach Lisa Bluder said she and her team are disappointed with the loss, but acknowledged that they cannot dwell on Sunday’s mistakes.
“It’s a long Big Ten season,” she said. “We’ve got to be ready for every Big Ten opponent.”
Johnson was held to her second-lowest scoring output of the season, and credited Michigan’s defense for slowing the Hawkeye’s offense down.
“They were doing a really good job of being physical,” Johnson said. “That does get a little bit frustrating, but I don’t rely on my offense to keep me going.”
Dixon took advantage of the Wolverines’ extra efforts to slow UI leading scorer Jaime Printy and Johnson by tallying her second-highest scoring output of the season.
“Melissa played really well coming in off the bench,” said Logic, who added that Dixon’s 3-point shooting helped spread the defense out, opening lanes for Logic and other Hawkeyes to drive.
Although Iowa was down 60-47 with 6:17 to play, the Hawkeyes refused to quit, trimming the lead to two points with 1:01 left.
“We don’t want to lose,” said Taylor. “We tried to pick it up, but we were way too late.”
Taylor registered a 14-point performance, while also picking up a block and two steals.
Logic was the obvious spark to Iowa’s late rally, consistently attacking the rim and putting pressure on Michigan defenders.
“I thought she left everything on the court,” said Bluder. “She was doing everything she could to try and get some energy into this basketball team.”
“We knew this would be a difficult matchup for us,” said Michigan head coach Kim Barnes Arico. “This is a great win for our program. Iowa is a great team.”
Wolverine senior Kate Thompson and junior Rachel Sheffer, who combined for 45 of Michigan’s 68 total points, paced Michigan on Sunday. Thompson scored 17 points in the first half, only to be shut down by the Hawkeye defense in the second half, where she would only score two points. Sheffer had 26 points while gathering five rebounds.
The Hawkeyes return to play Thursday versus the Wisconsin Badgers (8-6, 0-1) at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
“We have to be more prepared, more focused on the road than [we are] at home,” said Bluder. “We’ll take it forward, and do a better job of getting ready.”